2021 Fantasy Football Draft Kit

2021 Fantasy Football WR Targets By Air Yards


Air Yards. Most of us have heard about it, but not all have used it properly. In this article, I am going to give you some 2021 Fantasy Football WR Targets by Air Yards. First, though, I want to explain a little about what air yards are and how to properly use them.

There are two different types of air yards. Completion air yards and incompletions air yards.

Completion air yards is simply the number of yards gained at the time of the catch. Incompletion air yards are the yards missed due to a bad throw, dropped pass, or broken up by the defender. If you add these two together you get the total air yards for a receiver.

Another stat you should be paying attention to is Reciever to Air Conversion Ratio (RACR). This is a metric developed by John Hermsmeyer. It is the ratio of total receiving yards to total air yards. The great thing about this stat is it includes yards after the catch (YAC). You have to be careful with YAC though. It is great to know who can make plays on their own, but it doesn’t always predict fantasy success.

One last metric that is important is WOPR. This metric incorporates the number of team targets to total air yards.

In the end, Air Yards, YAC, RACR, and WOPR are not going to 100% predict who the best receivers are. They are just tools to help us make decisions. Some players excel at YAC and you can rely on that, some rely on Air Yards. Below though are some wide receivers you should target based on these metrics.

2021 Fantasy Football WR Targets By Air Yards

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The Elite

I just want to make sure to mention that Davante Adams, Calvin Ridley, Stefon Diggs, D.K. Metcalf, DeAndre Hopkins, and Tyreek Hill are all the elite when it comes to targets due to air yards. I don’t think there is much more to say about these receivers since they are all going really high in drafts. So we will move on to some receivers who you might want to take a tad higher than their ADP.

Air Yard Targets

Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears

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Allen Robinson should be up there with the elite, but unfortunately, his quarterback play has held him back. Just last season according to Fantasy Data, Robinson finished 72nd in terms of accurate passes thrown his way.

Still, last season he was 7th in air yards with 1,453. This is thanks to Robinson being a target monster during his career. I don’t see that changing this season, so his air yards should continue to stay very high.

Robinsons ADP of WR11 right now seems slightly low, especially if you think the combination of Andy Dalton and Justin Fields can get him the ball more accurately and lead to more touchdowns.

D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers

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D.J. Moore might be one of the most underrated receivers this season. His ADP is sitting at WR24 right now.

I get that he will be dealing with yet another new, sub-par, quarterback in Sam Darnold. But did we think that Teddy Bridgewater was going to keep Moore’s value up last season? I certainly did not. All Moore was able to do was finish fifth in total air yards last year and that was with just 118 targets. Far less than most of the players who were up that high, with the exception of one who we will mention soon.

Yes, Christian McCaffrey is returning, but he is not going to have to deal with Curtis Samuel anymore taking targets away from him. And if you’re expecting rookie Terrance Marshall to step into that role, stop it.

D.J. Moore will see plenty of targets and if his aDOT of 11+ continues, which I believe it will, he will be very undervalued in drafts.

Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos

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Here is the player I was eluding to before. Jeudy had finished sixth in total air yards with just 113 targets. Of course, this only added up to him finishing with 856 receiving yards, thanks to a putrid 89th finish in terms of accurate passes.

It wasn’t all on the QB though, he did drop the 7th most passes on the season.

I get the hesitation on Jeudy because of the drops, quarterback play, and Cortland Sutton returning this season. However, I still have hopes for Jeudy who was one of the best college receivers we’ve seen in a while. His aDOT was really good at 13.64 last season too. So if he and Drew Lock or Teddy Bridgewater can connect on a few more of those I think we are in for a big season from Jeudy

DJ Chark, Jacksonville Jaguars

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A guy going completely overlooked in my opinion is DJ Chark. Did you know he finished 13th in total air yard last year? Yet he was only targeted 93 times on the season.

We all know the Jaguars’ offense was a mess, all starting with the quarterback. In fact, Chark is down there with Jeudy in terms of accuracy of passes thrown to him sitting at 84th overall.

We all like Shenault to take a step forward this year, why can’t Chark be productive again with rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence. I believe he can be and with an ADP of WR32, he will be on a lot of my teams.

Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns

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I know, I know. I’m not a huge fan of Beckham either. This is mostly due to injury risk and inconsistent play. However, looking at his air yards through Week 6, before his injury, opened my eyes. Through those six weeks, he was 12th in total air yards and 16th in total targets. He also had an aDOT of 13.07 which is fantastic.

This was the early stages of the Stefanski offense in Cleveland. It was not great at the beginning for anyone, especially Baker Mayfield. We saw a pretty drastic turnaround the final six weeks of the season as he played at a much higher level. We saw how this poor play early affected OBJ, as he was 88th in terms of accurate passes thrown his way for the season.

I believe Baker can build upon his end to the 2021 season in his second year with Stefanski, and that OBJ will reap the benefits. His ADP of WR25 is pretty low for a guy who can easily put up WR1 numbers any given week. I’ve also seen OBJ go much lower than that in drafts.

Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys

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The forgotten man in Dallas. We all love CeeDee Lamb and of course, there is Amari Cooper. I get it, I really do, I’m a huge Lamb fan and think he will be great this year. I’ve never been a big Cooper fan, thanks to his inconsistency, but I get the arguments and he is likely the No. 1 target for the Cowboys.

Think about this though, Gallup finished the season 23rd in total air yards even without Dak Prescott for most of the season. OK, OK maybe not super impressive. Let’s take a look at the weeks Dak played. In those five weeks, Gallup was 13th in air yards and had a ridiculous aDOT of 16.86.

Now the downside is he was third on the team in targets, even through just five weeks. So the volume is just not going to be there for Gallup it appears.

Should Gallup be the third Cowboy receiver taken off the board this season? Yes. Should his ADP be WR50? No.

If you enjoyed this 2021 Fantasy Football WR Targets By Air Yards post, be sure to check out the rest of our 2021 Fantasy Football content from our great team of writers!

About Joe Bond

Not just another "Average Joe" when it comes to Fantasy Sports, he is the fantasy brain trust behind the FantasySixPack.net website. Joe is included in the FantasyPros Consensus Rankings for Football, Baseball and Basketball and finished well each year. This includes a top-3 in-season ranking for Football in 2020 and top-5 in 2019. You can find him on Twitter, @F6P_Joe, where he is waiting by the keyboard for your question.

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